UPA-Left logjam on nuke deal likely to continue

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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) When the UPA-Left panel meets tomorrow to discuss the Indo-US nuclear deal, the left will insist on seeking clarifications whether the country will get uninterrupted supply of enriched uranium to run its nuclear plants and be permitted to build a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel.

Stating that the Central government has yet to reply to a note they had submitted to it in the last meeting held on March 17, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan today told UNI there has been no forward movement since. The government has neither replied to clarifications sought by the Left parties nor shown draft of the safeguards agreement it had negotiated with International Atomic Energy Agency.

Echoing it, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said at a news conference that though the government discussed some major elements of the text with the Left leaders during their last meeting, it has not showed them the full text. He reminded the government of its commitment to the Left not to go ahead with ratifying the agreement with the IAEA unless and until it was approved by the joint panel.

After negotiating the safeguards agreement with IAEA, the government has to approach the Nuclear Suppliers Group for seeking exemptions in supply of enriched uranium. It is only after these two steps the nuke deal will go to the U S Congress for ratification before it can be operationalised.

Reiterating his party's "total opposition to the Indo- US nuclear deal", Mr Yechury reminded the government of its promise of not going ahead with ratifying agreement with IAEA until reservations of the Left were removed.

He expressed the hope government will give them a comprehensive briefing of the agreement reached with the UN regulatory body in tomorrow's meeting, adding, " We will chalk out our next strategy on that basis.'' UNI KSA/SAA RP HT1725

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